The daytime soap is dying a slow and agonizing death. You may or not know this, you may or may not care, but there it is.
The daytime drama has been around since the 30’s (if you count “The Guiding Light“‘s time on radio). I remember finding them profoundly boring and cheesy as a child. Then one summer during high school school, I fell victim to the lure of the genre. I saw Tina of “One Life to Live” stick her head in the oven to get Cord‘s attention, thought “What the fuck is this?,” and suddenly I was hooked. Since then I have reveled in the tacky, lurid, corny, glamorous, and wildly entertaining world of soaps. But while there were 12 or 13 soaps running simultaneously during the 90’s, that number has fallen to 4. It’s heartbreaking.
I started watching soaps as a young teenager. Guess what? Most of those soaps still have the same cast members working on the show. It’s remarkably comforting, and it invites investment in characters. Hell, I know these people, I grew up with them! I give a shit what happens to them. There was a time when I would have knocked most movie stars to the ground to get an autograph from my one of my favorite soap actresses of all time, Katherine Kelly Lang. But all these characters/actors I’ve kept track of for the past 20-30 years? They’re going to “die” in a matter of years, if not months. For some reason, I find that profoundly depressing.
It’s a myth that only stay-at-home women watch soaps. In fact, women watch them, men (both gay and straight) watch them, and old and young folks alike watch them. Now, obviously, the housewife was soaps’ biggest demographic. So when more and more women entered the work force that put a serious hurting on the genre. And this is why women who work outside the home sicken me: they’re taking my goddamn stories away!
Also, OJ murdering those two folks and the advent of 24-hour news networks did not help soaps’ plight.
The fact that the networks never sold the soaps the way I would have (running ads for them in primetime advertising them as a delicious, sinful, guilty pleasures) didn’t help either.
I don’t see daytime soaps making a comeback. I can only hope that their evil twin, the nighttime soap, makes a resurgence. The newly-revised “Dallas” gives me hope that perhaps it might. Unless soaps rise from the grave (like soooooo many of my beloved characters have) this will be it for the daytime soap. I haz a sad.
To sum things up:
1.) Working women: not just slutty feminazis trying to lead fulfilling, productive lives, and destroying society– also ruining television.
2.) Nighttime soaps may be our only hope.
3.) I really am upset.
4.) Say something to cheer me up